What's at stake

Throughout 2019, Civil Beat is exploring the effects of climate change in the islands and what is being done about it. Scientists predict the worst will hit in about 21 years. But Hawaii is already feeling the effects of a warming planet.
Effects of climate change

The effects of climate change in the islands go far beyond increased temperatures and rising sea levels.

Death & Disease

Increase in temperature-related death and diseases as well as human illnesses spread by insects.

Loss of Farmlands

Land degradation and desertification will impact soils, vegetation and the terrestrial ecosystems.

Lower Fish Stock

Warmer waters will negatively impact fish populations and result in less fish near the islands.

Threat to Freshwater

Less water will be stored in aquifers 
due to erosion in our mountains, affecting our freshwater supply.

Tourism Decline

Without our beaches, healthy reefs and reliable infrastructure, Hawaii will see fewer visitors and a weaker economy.

Loss of Endemic Species

The already endangered plants and animals native to the Hawaiian Islands will die off.

Coral Bleaching

As ocean temperatures rise the coral that protects our shoreline will suffer mass bleaching and mortality.

Loss of Coastal Regions

Rising sea levels will exacerbate shoreline erosion, coastal flooding and water pollution.


We need to do more and we need to do it faster

Carbon calculators

Carbon footprint calculators help people figure out how much carbon they are emitting and what they can do about it. Here are a few to try: Global Footprint Network, CoolClimate, U.S. EPA.

Sea Level Rise Viewer

Explore how sea level rise will impact Hawaii with this interactive tool from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Latest scientific reports

Read the latest scientific reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Hawaii Chapter of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, and the Hawaiian Islands Climate Synthesis Project.

Reporter: Nathan Eagle
Photography: Nathan Eagle, Cory Lum
Multimedia: April Estrellon, Ku‘u Kauanoe, Carlie Procell
Editors: Patti Epler, Jessica Terrell
Development and Design: Mantle